Computing That Serves

Haptic Perception and Cognition of Reversed Geons in the Blind


Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 10:00am


Nathan Bench

Ph.D. candidate in the College of Technology at Purdue University


Mike Jones

The recognition-by-components (RBC) theory states that humans perceive objects in their environment through the combination of primitive shapes called geons. RBC also suggests that when a novel introduction to an object occurs a new exemplar category is created through the process of primal access, creating a representation of that object in memory. Through this exemplar category humans are able to categorize geons into various objects of recognition. The primary idea for haptic perception and navigation forthis study will be the reversal of high-low force feedback from haptically rendered geons.The assumption is that participants will be drawn more to an area of low-force rather than high-force feedback. In other words, the path of least resistance is assumed. The proposed research will be to determine how blind and low-sighted individuals perceive haptic geons in a virtual environment and to determine if the application of haptic geonscan be used for navigation through tactile affordances. Furthermore, the significance of this research may help seed the development of a framework that has potential application across many domains- not only for the blind and low-sighted. On a theoretical level, this study may be a plausible stepping-stone for future research in our understanding of human sensory perception, cognition, and how it relates to the use oftechnologies in a rendered environment.


Nathan Bench is a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Technology at Purdue University inWest Lafayette, IN. He has an M.F.A. in digital art from Purdue and a B.S. in Art and Visual Communications from Utah Valley University. Nathan’s current research focuses on haptic technology, perception, and cognition in blind and low-sighted individuals. He enjoys spending time with his family every chance he gets.